President Donald Trump said Thursday that people who vote early by mail should show up at polling stations and re-vote if their ballots were not counted. This is a small step backwards from his comments the day before when he suggested voting twice to test the post-in system.
Trump claims without evidence that the November 3rd election will be full of fraud because so many voters will send in their ballots to avoid exposure to the coronavirus at polling stations.
The president said people could get their ballots in as early as possible and then take a trip to the polls to see if their mail-in vote is tabulated. A senior election official in North Carolina, where Trump raised the issue on Wednesday, discouraged voters from following Trump's advice.
"If so, you will not be able to vote and the mail-in system will work properly," Trump said in a long tweet. "If it wasn't counted, VOTE (which is a citizen's right)."
If the postal ballot is received by election officials after someone has voted in the elections, the in-person vote will be ignored, he said.
"You are now certain that your precious vote has been counted. It has not been" lost, thrown away or destroyed in any way ".
Email voting is set to replace in-person voting during the pandemic, but Trump doesn't trust the mail-in system. The appearance of mail-in voters at polling stations could also create more confusion among poll workers.
Trump first made the proposal during his trip to Wilmington, North Carolina Wednesday.
North Carolina attorney general Democrat Josh Stein said it was outrageous for the president to suggest that people "break the law to help him wreak havoc in our elections".
“Make sure you vote, but DO NOT vote twice!” Stein tweeted. "I will do everything in my power to ensure that the will of the people is upheld in November."
It is a crime under North Carolina state law to vote twice. Once someone has cast a postal vote, that person is no longer allowed to change or cancel it or decide to vote in person on election day, as stated on the National Electoral Committee's website.
Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, said in a statement that it is illegal to deliberately vote twice. She said there are numerous measures in place to prevent people from double voting, including electronic ballot books at each early voting location with a record of who has already cast a vote.
She urged people not to show up for election on election day if they have any questions about the status of the ballot paper they have already sent. "That is not necessary and would result in longer lines and the possibility of COVID-19 spreading," she said.
Instead, voters should check the board's website to see if their ballot has been accepted, use a tracking tool that will be available shortly, or contact the county electoral board with questions about the status of their ballot.
Attorney General William Barr, asked about Trump's proposal during a CNN interview, said he was not aware of electoral laws in every state but agreed with Trump's belief that mail-in votes are prone to fraud. It's like "playing with fire," Barr said.
In response, Michigan Attorney General, Democrat Dana Nessel, tweeted, “Hey guys. Attorney General Nessel is Michigan's top law enforcement officer here, for those on the go. Don't try this at home. I will prosecute you. "
Countries that have relied on postal ballot paper say there is little evidence of fraudulent activity. Several studies have unmasked the notion of ubiquitous electoral fraud in general and in the voting process via email.
The five states – Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and Utah – that relied on postal voting prior to the coronavirus pandemic have said they have the necessary security measures to prevent fraud and prevent hostile foreign intruders from doing so To influence the vote. Due to the pandemic, more and more states are planning to rely more on mail-in voting this fall.
Barr cited a report by a commission led by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker more than a decade ago that postal votes were prone to fraud. However, in a May statement, the Commission said it had found little evidence of fraud in states like Oregon, which had adequate safeguards in place.
Drew reported from Durham, North Carolina.